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American Shakespeare Center

Staunton, VA

www.AmericanShakespeareCenter.com

Amount Requested: $6,000 for Shakespeare Teacher Seminars for Local Teachers

Mission: The mission of the American Shakespeare Center is to recover the joys and accessibility of Shakespeare’s theatre, language and humanity by exploring the English Renaissance stage and its practices through performance and education.

Our primary activities and services include producing the work of William Shakespeare and his contemporaries, and occasionally modern plays that work with Shakespeare’s staging conditions, at the Blackfriars Playhouse year-round.  We produce one of the most active Shakespeare touring groups in the nation.  We host the biannual Blackfriars Conference, the preeminent source for scholarship on Shakespeare and performance.  Lastly, we offer an extensive array of educational programming, including seminars, workshops, online and printed study guides, and comprehensive summer camps for high school students and adults.

Constituents Served: Over 60,000 ticketholders annually enjoy a rotating repertory of 16 plays and 360+ performances at the Blackfriars, the only re-creation of Shakespeare’s indoor theatre in the world.  11,000+ of those are middle and high school students at one of our dedicated student matinee performances.  ASC on Tour travels 6 months out of the year, reaching 21,000+ audience members throughout the United States, with a 3-play repertory and 13 related educational workshops.

Program Overview: Four times a year, the American Shakespeare Center devotes a seminar to the classroom applications of plays from our repertoire, specifically for teachers and educators at both the high school and college levels.  Despite teacher feedback that is unanimously positive, teachers from our local schools have not been able to participate, citing two issues: cost and time.  Their weekend schedules during the school year, when we present our seminars, are inundated with other activities.

We believe that the solution is to provide workshops during in-service days at local public schools.  However, before the school districts will commit financial support for the participation of their teachers, we need to prove to the school districts that such a program will be a success.  Therefore, we are requesting funding from the Community Foundation to cover the cost of local teacher participation during this inaugural year of proposed in-service day seminars. We envision this first in-service day reaching 25 to 30 English teachers, who will in turn reach hundreds of local students.

We anticipate that we can generate more funding, and buy-in from local school districts, once they have seen how it changes practice across the curriculum (we tie activities in Shakespeare study to math, science, and social studies) and the positive feedback from teachers.

Comprehensive Needs:  In addition to general support for primary activities and services mentioned above, we also welcome support for our Theatre Camp Scholarship Fund; our Band Candy campaign to support the music and musicians at the Blackfriars; and capacity building support, including expanded staff and strategic use of consultants, to help us learn and adopt best practices from the field.

Current Operating Budget: $3,127,854

Program Budget: $6,000

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